Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson is the Rector of the Nuestra Senora Corredentora Seminary of the Society of St. Pius X in La Reja, Argentina. Before that time he was Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in both Winona, Minnesota and Ridgefield, Connecticut. And prior to that he was asked by Archbishop Lefebvre to be a seminary professor in Econe. From nearly the beginning of his priesthood His Excellency has been entrusted with the care and formation of future priests. Throughout the years Bishop Williamson has explored many issues relating to the encroaching anti-Catholic culture that surrounds us. Many have read those letters, but few know much about him.
This year is the 30th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of happy memory. I visited His Excellency in Argentina to talk about his 30 years of priesthood. This interview is one of the results of 4 days of conversation.
Your Excellency, why are your words so polarizing?
Because that Williamson character is a militant dinosaur, not content to be extinct. He has long since come to the conclusion that the modern world is very wrong. But the modern world came into being because a lot of people believe (and still believe) in it. So if he refuses to believe in it, no wonder there is a clash.
I´ll admit that for me it used to be very hard to hear what you had to say. I couldn´t stand your ideas, Your Excellency, in my early years of Tradition. But the more I learned more about my Faith and the crisis, the more I realized I was not seeing the whole picture, as you were.
The Wikipedia entry on Richard Williamson is a veritable litany of the controversial Williamson stances with a lovely picture of Julie Andrews in your favorite movie. Let me ask for brief accounts of your more controversial ideas:
Women and Trousers
Bishop de Castro Meyer said that slacks are worse on women than mini-skirts because mini-skirts attack merely the lower man through sensuality, whereas women´s trousers attack the higher man by perverting the very idea of woman, by putting her in masculine clothing.
Every time a woman puts on a skirt or trousers she recognizes within herself, consciously or unconsciously, the difference to her psyche between the two. It is women who tell me that. It stands to reason.
Women and College
True universities are for ideas.
True girls are not for ideas.
True girls are not for true universities.
This begs the question, what are true girls for?
Motherhood, either spiritual or physical. In its broadest and noblest sense. Maternity is sacred. It´s the future of mankind. The Mother of God is the glory of Catholicism.
Only a fool is against Jews simply because they are Jews. There can be very few directors of Traditional Catholic seminaries, who have invited, as I once did, a Jewish rabbi to address seminarians. On the other hand, only a Catholic who does not understand his faith is not against the enemies of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I am against Jews or Gentiles who are enemies of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Freemasonry is a secret organization that has been repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Popes in their right minds, because from the very start it was designed to subvert the Catholic Church. There are individual Freemasons, maybe there are many of them, who do not know that this is the deep-down purpose of Freemasonry, and who would stop being Freemasons if they did know it. However, the Catholic Popes have always known it.
The Sound of Music
It´s subversive. For instance, Julie Andrews plays a sex kitten who is a sister to her husband´s daughters instead of being a mother, among other things. Ultimately the Sound of Music is a false presentation of motherhood, fatherhood, family, authority, life. There is more, but let that suffice.
In theory, technology is a neutral instrument open to being used for good or evil, but in practice, it is today playing a huge part in modern man´s materialism, so that modern man would be much better off spiritually if he did not have the temptations and distractions of technology, especially electronics.
It is said that the dino-bishop Williamsorus Rex, is overly pessimistic. One of Fr. Le Roux´ letters from the Seminary recently mentioned that we are not a religion of pessimism or optimism, because the virtue of Hope supercedes such transient ideas. So let me frame the next series of questions for you to tell us where you see hope, and where we need improvement.
Families and Fathers
Whenever there are families with large numbers of children, something is going right, in accordance with the plan of God. The more families expose themselves to Catholic tradition, the more we see numerous families in the world.
However, many more young fathers need to think about just how much more they need to be doing in order to ensure the eternal salvation of all (read: all) members of their family.
When I used to tour the US for Confirmations, I regularly saw young mothers with numbers of little children. These mothers were obviously feminine, happy, and fulfilled women.
However, more and more girls need to be helped to realize that their true happiness lies in motherhood, with all its ties and obligations.
There are a few family fathers who give a good enough example of taking their religion seriously to prevent the boys from falling away from the practice of their religion, as so many do, when they turn 13, 14, 15.
However, more fathers need to get their boys away from electronics into handling the real world in any shape, size, or form. Also, fathers must hold the difficult balance between letting their boys get contaminated by the world and keeping them in a too-protective bubble which the boys are bound to burst. No boy worth the name wants to live in artificiality, even pious artificiality.
Our hope here is the very existence of traditional Catholic schools. It is something of a miracle that they exist at all.
However, Catholic schools today must hold the same difficult balance as parents, namely between overprotecting the children from today´s world, and underprotecting them, which of course does untold damage to human beings in their young and vulnerable years. Nobody pretends that it is an easy balance to keep. A strong faith is necessary.
As the family is the basic unit of nature, the parish is the basic unit of supernature. It is encouraging to see quasi-parishes growing around the True Mass, all over the world. But these quasi-parishes suffer from great difficulties of distance, only being able to meet on Sunday, and so on. So the priest who ensures a regular Sunday Mass knows that he must do what he can to build a supernatural family around the Mass.
Firstly, men should, as far as possible, stay out of today´s job environment. And the women should stay at home, where these men must foster and love their wives´ motherhood.
As for the men who must go out into today´s job environment, they must at least realize in how many ways this environment is harmful to their spiritual well-being, and they must wisely take what evasive action they can.
More and more women are wanting to stay at home. That is definitely hopeful. But for this purpose both father and mother must both want and love children. Because, without children, the mother is liable to be insufficiently employed at home, and insufficiently respected for staying at home.
As for the men, a desire to flee the big modern city is surely a sign of sanity. Whether they can do so is another question.
Broadly, the big modern city and suburbs are a 24/7 anti-Catholic environment. Broadly, the more a family can keep away from electronics and return to nature, or the country, the better. However, a return to the country and country living, which is much more healthy for children, needs to be well thought out, and planned beforehand, if it is to succeed and not fail of its purpose.
A big theme that you often speak about is 1950s-ism. Can you define that term for our readers who don´t know it?
It´s the sort of Catholicism from the 1950s that led us to the Vatican II conciliar collapse. The appearance of religion without the substance. A Pharisaic sentimentalism. A spiritual diet of candy and sweets. Like trying to live off candy.
The antidote is a strong Faith that does not want to escape from reality, except to go to Heaven. Heaven is real. No unreal path is going to lead us to the real Heaven.
You, as I do, believe that 9/11 was an inside job. Why is it so hard for Traditional Catholics to even be open-minded to listening to that possibility? And what say you to the charge that you should keep to religious matters and leave lay matters, in this case the murder of 3000 civilians, to laymen?
Well to answer your last question first, any human question is essentially a religious question, and 9/11 was a tremendous working on human minds and wills.
To the first question I would answer that 9/11 caused a major shift in worldwide thinking. People were moved in a globalist direction. So one must examine firstly whether 9/11 was a global fraud, and if it was, then one examines whether it is productive or counter-productive to say so.
However, even to begin to examine the facts, we must digress. This is because for many dear Americans, their real religion is their government. To such Americans, 9/11 cannot be a fraud because their wonderful government could not possibly do such a thing to them!
But how could a secular government turn into a people´s religion?
Because the United States is united by religious liberty, which means that all the particular religions contradicting one another are none of them serious, leaving as the source of the nation´s only unity and salvation its secular government. Religious liberty is why many Americans treat their government as their real religion, which is why of course they cannot entertain even the notion of 9/11 being a global fraud.
Was the famous 18th century conservative-liberal politician in England, Edmund Burke, a similar case?
Yes, he too wanted to glorify a national revolution, the so-called ¨Glorious Revolution¨ of 1688. He later condemned the French Revolution of 1789, but the slide from one to the other was inevitable, unless souls turned back to the true God, i.e. to Catholicism.
And the slide to the Antichrist is now inevitable? Can I do anything to stop it?
You and I can slow down the slide by remaining faithful to God, but from Scripture we know that the modern slide does end with the Antichrist. Globalism is on the march. Faster than ever.
Going back to the idea of the land, in the Archbishop´s sermon for his priestly jubilee on the Feast of St. Pius X, 1979, in Paris, he is quoted as saying (and here I am quoting from the Tissier de Mallerais biography, p. 513) that families should ¨home-school if possible, and go back to the land, which is healthy, brings one closer to God, evens out temperaments, and encourages one to work.¨ Some people have said that this quote is ¨out of context,¨ but given the way that the Archbishop favored Econe´s rural setting, can one seriously maintain that the Archbishop did not advocate returning to the land where possible? And in what context could this be placed to have a different meaning?
Obviously the Archbishop meant what he said. Countless serious thinkers, and not only Catholics, have understood how harmful the big modern city is to human beings living human lives, let alone getting to Heaven.
The Archbishop is merely saying what is common sense for anyone who has thought about the matter. But of course it is a somewhat demanding common sense. Which is why someone might invent a convenient excuse to get out of it, like calling the quote ¨out of context.¨
As a follow-up, he says ¨home-school when possible.¨ In an interview with Bernard Janzen recently transcribed and published by the Angelus, you were quoted as saying home-schooling was second best. Do you still feel that way, and how do you weigh your answer in the context of the Archbishop´s quote?
It´s very simple. Three, two one.
Third best is the corrupt public schools everywhere today. Second best is the purity of home-schooling. First best is good schools outside the home, especially for boys.
But what of the cost of these good schools (if no scholarships or financial aid are available)?
¨Needs must,¨ says the Proverb. If Dad can´t pay for a good school outside the home, then home-school becomes the best option. Unfortunately good schools are always expensive.
And more so in an age without many teaching Sisters and Brothers…
True. Yet Catholics in past ages have always made huge sacrifices for the Catholic schooling of their children, because they have always known its importance.
¨The Restoration of Christian Culture¨ is the title of a book by the late Dr. John Senior that sounds like a daunting challenge. Yet, some maintain that all that is necessary is to go to Mass and to try to convert people, instead of ¨solving the problems of the world¨ by, for instance, returning to the land. How do you respond, Your Excellency?
Simple attendance at Mass is obviously not enough.
If a man finds himself in the middle of a marsh, he has two questions:
1) Where does he want to put his next foot?
2) In which direction is dry land?
These two questions are not the same.
Immediate practicality is one thing, long term purpose is another. I may have to step immediately south in order to go finally north.
Would you call such minimal Catholicism a bunker-siege mentality?
People who just want to go to Mass and do nothing else to Catholicize their lives are not in a bunker-siege mentality, I don´t think they even know they are under siege.
They have not yet realized how dangerous the modern situation has become. And how the modern environment is 24/7 anti-Catholic.
1.5 hours on Sunday cannot defend from 166.5 hours of attack (24 x7, - 1.5).
Speaking of sieges and bunkers, Your Excellency, what of this Lebanon crisis that erupted recently?
The Israelis do pretty much as they want, and what they want is not just. If anyone wants to say that that is Anti-Semitic, let them know I might just as well have said the same thing about the Nazis at the beginning of the 2nd World War, and the Nazis were mostly Gentiles.
Final thoughts, my lord?
Watch and pray, watch and pray,
Fifteen Mysteries every day!